SRINAGAR: Two of the three militants killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday were teenagers and avid sports lovers.Three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, including 14-year-old Mudasir Ahmad and 17-year-old Saqib Ahmed were killed in an 18-hour-long gunfight with security forces in Mujgund area, about 12 kms from Srinagar.
The teens, Mudasir and Saqib, from Hajin area in north Kashmir’s Bandipora were close friends. According to their relatives, Saqib was an aspiring footballer and Mudasir was a cricket lover.Both the teens had gone missing on August 31 after the killing of three Lashkar militants in Hajin.
According to the police, Mudasir, who was in class 9, and Saqib, a class 11 student, took up arms and joined Lashkar after going missing on August 31. Last week, a picture of Mudasir carrying a dagger and an assault rifle had gone viral on social media.A police official said the picture was a few months old and was released recently to lure more youths to militancy.
Families of both the teenagers had appealed them to give up militancy and return home. Saqib’s mother Mehbooba Begum said her son spoke to her last week. “He seemed happy after joining the militants. He left home to play cricket and after months informed us about joining a militant group,” she said.“I am happy he got what he sought. I have no regrets,” she said.
Saqib’s elder brother is studying in Navodiya Vidhaylay in Uri. Bodies of both the teenagers were laid to rest in their native places on Monday and people in large numbers attended the funeral. Over 150 young boys from Kashmir have joined militancy this year. The trend of local youth joining militancy picked up after killing of 21-year-old Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016.Reacting to deaths, People’s Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone favoured calling off operation to save lives.